Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Serving the Chicago Area

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and arm. It happens if the median nerve gets squeezed or compressed. Often, carpal tunnel syndrome worsens with time, although sometimes symptoms can be relieved by avoiding repetitive tasks or wearing a splint on one's wrist. Continued pressure on the median nerve can result in nerve damage and worsened symptoms. To stop permanent damage, it may be necessary to undergo surgery. Often, carpal tunnel syndrome is aggravated by work. If you believe that you have work-related carpal tunnel syndrome due to a job, our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers can help you pursue benefits through the workers' compensation system.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel inside the wrist. It is made up of small carpal bones, and its roof is made up of connective tissue. There is little room for this tunnel to stretch. The median nerve, one of the primary nerves in your hand, goes through the carpal tunnel at the wrist and into the hand, giving your thumb and certain fingers sensation. Flexor tendons also move through the carpal tunnel, allowing the fingers and thumb to bend. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens if this passage gets narrowed or the synovium (lubricating tissue) around the tendons swells, creating pressure on the median nerve that shows up in your body as pain, numbness, and tingling in your wrist and hand.

Often, carpal tunnel syndrome is experienced by people who perform repetitive tasks on the job. For example, programmers and office workers who type all day often experience carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive motion. People working in construction, manufacturing, health care, and factories are also more likely to develop job-related carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can negatively affect your ability to do your job, which can lead to your being unable to work. An employer's workers' compensation insurer can be held responsible for paying workers' compensation benefits. In some cases, a claim may be challenged because an employee has some of the risk factors for carpal tunnel, such as obesity, diabetes, or smoking. However, as long as work was a causal factor of your carpal tunnel syndrome, you should still be eligible for benefits.

Carpal tunnel syndrome often sets in slowly. Therefore, it can be difficult to know when you are eligible for benefits. If you believe that your carpal tunnel is a result of work, you should report it to your employer and consult an experienced work injury attorney.

Some workers are partially disabled by carpal tunnel syndrome. There are guidelines in place for partial disabilities in the workers' compensation system in Illinois. Compensation awarded for carpal tunnel is restricted to 15% of the loss of use of a hand. There is an exception to this restriction if there is clear and convincing evidence of further disability, but clear and convincing evidence is a tough standard. Should there be the necessary evidence, the upper limit is set at 30% of the loss of use of the hand.

You may also be able to get more compensation if carpal tunnel syndrome leaves you unable to go back to your prior occupation. In that case, you can try to prove permanent total disability or permanent wage loss. If you are required to work at a job that pays you less than your old job, you can collect a wage differential until you turn 67 or five years from the award date, whichever provides more compensation.

There are instances in which carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by blunt trauma or crushing. For example, if you fall from a great height and fall on your palm or wrist, and the fall results in carpal tunnel syndrome, you do not face the same types of restrictions that people with repetitive injuries face.

Consult an Experienced Job Injury Attorney in Chicago

If you are concerned about recovering benefits for job-related carpal tunnel syndrome in Chicago, you should contact a work injury lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we also represent people in Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other cities in Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525, or contact us online, for a free consultation.